Community Eye Health

At the School of Optometry and Vision Science, academic staff conduct world-leading research spanning all of vision science. In-house clinics and outreach programmes provide real-world opportunities for students to put into practice what they’ve learned in the classroom. Students are supported and guided through their clinical practice by highly experienced tutors. The tutors supervise all students as they develop their professional skills.

Your gift will support these vital public outreach and research programmes:

  • School Screening Programme: one in ten children in New Zealand have correctable visual problems that are not being treated. Your support of the School Screening Programme will help us reach the thousands of children we visit in schools every year and the hundreds we help to see the blackboard better.
  • Myopia research: by 2050 50% of the population will be myopic, and this is now one of the leading causes of blindness in the developed world. Our school has pioneered new treatments for this condition including the development of some of the words’ first contact lenses that reshape the wearers’ eyes while they sleep. Your gift will support more innovative research in the area of myopia control.
  • Vision and neurological conditions: A patient’s eyes offer a unique window onto the health of their nervous system. Researchers here are working on ways to use vision testing to diagnose neurological conditions throughout the lifespan: from using children’s eye movements to diagnose autism spectrum disorder, to imaging of nerves within the eye to diagnose Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Macular Degeneration: 40% of people aged 50+ will develop Age-Related Macular Degeneration, a serious and ultimately sight-threatening eye disease. Treatment can slow the disease, but cannot restore sight, so early detection is critical. Your donation will help us to develop sophisticated imaging techniques to better diagnose this disease.
  • New Zealand Vision Bus: University of Auckland optometry students currently screen the vision of thousands of schoolchildren in the Greater Auckland area every year. Our results suggest that one in ten children in New Zealand have correctable visual impairment that is not being treated.  Currently, we can only conduct simple tests on site and so rely on parents taking children who fail the screening to an optometrist for a full eye exam. The end result is that many children – often those most in need - do not end up getting glasses. This can significantly impact on educational outcomes. If we could perform a full eye exam on site we could better ensure children got the glasses they need. To do this we seek to fund and purchase the New Zealand Vision Bus – NZ’s first mobile optometry clinic. Your support will allow us to help more schoolkids see the blackboard better and to deliver better eye healthcare to all New Zealanders, regardless of their background.

For more information, contact:

Laura Dee | Associate Director, Development